Job 31:1

Job's Final Appeal

1 "I have made a covenant with my 1eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?

Job 31:1 Meaning and Commentary

Job 31:1

I made a covenant with mine eyes
Not to look upon a woman, and wantonly gaze at her beauty, lest his heart should be drawn thereby to lust after her; for the eyes are inlets to many sins, and particularly to uncleanness, of which there have been instances, both in bad men and good men, ( Genesis 34:2 ) ( 2 Samuel 11:2 ) ; so the poet F20 represents the eye as the way through which the beauty of a woman passes swifter than an arrow into the hearts of men, and makes impressions there; see ( 2 Peter 2:14 ) ; hence Zaleucus ordered adulterers to be punished, by plucking out the eyes of the adulterer F21; wherefore Job, to prevent this, entered into a solemn engagement with himself, laid himself under a strong obligation, as if he had bound himself by a covenant, made a resolution in the strength of divine grace, not to employ his eyes in looking on objects that might ensnare his heart, and lead him to the commission of sin; he made use of all ways and means, and took every precaution to guard against it; and particularly this, to shut or turn his eyes from beholding what might be alluring and enticing to him: it is said F24 of Democritus, that he put out his eyes because he could not look upon a woman without lusting after her:

why then should I think upon a maid;
of corrupting and defiling her, since he had made a covenant with his eyes, and this would be a breach of that covenant: and therefore, besides the sin of lusting after her, or of corrupting her, he would be a covenant breaker, and so his sin would be an aggravated one: or he made a covenant with his eyes, to prevent any impure thoughts, desires, and inclinations in him; for the eye affects the heart, and stirs up lust in it, and excites unclean thoughts and unchaste desires: this shows that the thought of sin is sin; that fornication was reckoned a sin before the law of Moses; and that Job better understood the spirituality of the law than the Pharisees did in the time of Christ, and had the same notion of lust in the heart being fornication and adultery as he had; and that good men are not without temptation to sin, both from within and from without; and therefore should carefully shun all appearances of evil, and whatsoever leads unto it, and take every necessary precaution to guard against it.


F20 Musaeus de Heron. & Leand. v. 92
F21 Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 13. c. 24.
F24 Tertullian. Apolog. c. 46.

Job 31:1 In-Context

1 "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
2 What would be my portion from God above and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
4 Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?
5 "If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit;

Cross References 1

  • 1. [Isaiah 33:15; Matthew 5:28]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.